The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, convened in their 2019 General Assembly, prayerfully reflected on the persistent and widespread nature of homelessness experienced by persons locally, across our nation and around the globe. We were challenged to take actions which highlight this crisis, to commit ourselves to being informed and educated about the causes, to collaborate in advocacy efforts with other groups and organizations and to address this issue with public officials at all levels of government.
A working Committee on People Experiencing Homelessness was established and, for the past year, has engaged in actions of education, collaboration and advocacy. I am pleased to share with you the enclosed statement (below) prepared by the Ad Hoc Committee, “A CALLING: HOMELESS TO HOPEFUL.” This statement gained the assent and commitment of members of the Sisters of Charity at a series of Congregational meetings in the Fall of 2020. We invite you to join us in this commitment.
We urge you to engage the resources of your Office, bringing your influence and knowledge to develop strategies to address the crisis of homelessness experienced by so many members of our extended human family. COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation, placing many more persons at risk of homelessness due to the inability to maintain rent or mortgage payments. We support the extension of the moratorium on evictions and efforts to ensure that it is followed.
We urge you to promote policies and take actions which recognize the dignity of each person and ensures their right to affordable, safe and adequate housing. We look forward to hearing from you regarding your plans and specific actions to address this crisis. Please forward this information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be assured of our prayerful support and advocacy for these efforts.
Maureen Shaughnessy, SC
Statement on People Experiencing Homelessness
A CALLING: HOMELESS TO HOPEFUL
CONVENT STATION, NJ – The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth are committed to our mission to serve the poor and, as such, we recognize the devastating and pervasive growth of homelessness in our midst. People experiencing homelessness fit no stereotype; they are children, senior citizens, healthy and disabled, employed and non-employed, educated and undereducated. They sleep in cars, under highways and in doorways; as well as in barns and railroad stations. There is no single definition of the lives and causes of people being homeless.
- We believe that access to safe, affordable and permanent housing is a measure of a just and human society and is at the heart of the common good.
- We affirm that homelessness is a rampant moral and ethical crisis demanding efforts and solutions that recognize the dignity of each person and ensure their quality of life.
- We call ourselves and others to develop a systemic program to enhance the life and dignity of all and to create solutions to alleviate this crisis.
We acknowledge that there is no one solution to homelessness. Conscious of that framework, we commit ourselves to:
- Educate ourselves and others about the dimensions of homelessness and actions we can take to make a difference, especially in areas where we serve and minister.
- Collaborate with others who are working to address this crisis on the local and global levels, e.g. community-based programs, ecclesial initiatives, other religious communities.
- Advocate for political, economic and social policies which will bring solutions for the causes of homelessness and provide affordable housing for all.
Through commitment, advocacy and influence, each of us can make a difference. You are called to join us in implementing these efforts to bring about systemic and lasting change which will strengthen the fabric of our society as a whole.